Teenagers are curious creatures who like to experiment with ‘grown-up’ things such as alcohol. When your teen comes home intoxicated, you have a big problem that needs to be tackled. Even a single instance of your kid drinking should be taken seriously because it can be worse than you know. Parents struggle emotionally when their teens abuse alcohol and often do not know what to do.
Below is a guide on how parents should deal with teen alcohol abuse.
Before you confront your teen on the problem, you need to review a few things. You need to establish your personal view on drinking and what age you think it is best for your child to drink (16, 18, 21, or never). In addition, you need to determine whether you have an alcohol problem in your home. If you do, sort it out first because your teenager may be emulating it.
2. Raise the Issue Calmly and Rationally
Explain to your teen that you are aware they are probably drinking and their actions concern you. Ask your kid, what’s going on and how much and how often they have been drinking. Are they drinking out of curiosity, press, pressure, or boredom?
3. Talk about the dangers of alcohol abuse
Talk to your teenager about the adverse consequences of alcohol abuse in their life. Alcohol abuse affects a teen’s developing brain and compromises their learning, emotional stability, memory, and thinking. It distracts kids from academics, career pursuits, sports, family life, and social life. In addition, teen alcohol abuse increases the teenager’s likelihood to engage in risky behaviors such as drunken driving, fights, accidents, and unprotected sex. You can tell your kid to research on the effects of alcohol abuse and report the finding to you.
4. Personal Commitment
Ask your kid to make a personal commitment to abstain from alcohol abuse. Let them make a pledge in front of the whole family on their commitment to alcohol abstinence. If your kid won’t commit to abstinence, show your disappointment with their decision.
5. Review Alcohol Policy
If you already have an alcohol policy in your home, review it and emphasize your zero tolerance towards alcohol and other drugs. If you don’t have an alcohol policy, it is time to establish one to monitor your teen’s behavior and add incentives to alcohol abstinence. An alcohol policy should determine what happens when you bust your kid drinking alcohol. In addition, consider registering your teen for alcohol education classes as part of the alcohol policy.
6. Get Professional Help
When your kid still abuses alcohol after all these steps, it is time to consult. It could show that your kid has a more serious substance abuse problem. Get help from a therapist who specializes in teenagers with alcohol and drug problems.
Alcohol abuse is one of the risks that teenagers take. Even if you found your teen intoxicated once, do not take it lightly because it could indicate a bigger issue. Alcohol abuse has numerous detrimental effects for teenagers and hence the need to address it as quickly as possible. Importantly, cultivate a warm and open relationship with your teen and let them know you will always be there for them.